Tuesday, September 02, 2014

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Eating Green Can Help Your Diet And The Planet

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Tuesday is Earth Day, but did you know that what you eat might be able to help contribute to saving the planet? NY1 Health & Fitness reporter Kafi Drexel explains how you might be able to help the environment with the everyday food choices you make.

Going green isn't just good for your diet — it’s good for the planet, too. NY1 caught up with Monica Reinagel of NutritionData.com at the Union Square farmer's market to find out how what makes it to your plate may get you a thumbs-up from Mother Earth. First major tip: buy and eat local.

“It's estimated that the food that we eat travels an average of 1,500 miles from its source to our plates. That's a lot of gas and a lot of C02 emissions,” says Reinagel. “So one big thing we can do for the environment is to choose more locally-grown foods like all these great fruits and vegetables that you can find at your local farmer's market.”

It’s already something more food shoppers seem to be catching on to.

“We have been trying to eat local food, mostly from this green market and other places around the city pretty much all of this year,” says Greenmarket shopper Cella Irvine. “It gets hard in the middle of winter, right, when there are really old, hard squashes and some potatoes, but even now in the early spring the selection here is unbelievable.”

Another way you are more likely to pick local eats, is by choosing what is in season. And she says, looking for local organic growers whether it's in the green market or the supermarket is always better than packaged of processed foods.

“If you go to your grocery store and you buy those greens that have been washed and packed into cellophane bags and injected with gas to keep produce fresh, at every step of processing it takes energy, it creates waste. It also adds costs to the foods,” says Reinagel.

While going green may be great for the environment and your diet, sometimes choosing organic foods can keep things on the pricey side. Reinagel has some tips for that too to help you keep costs down.

“If you can't afford to buy all organic foods, there are some foods that have a particularly high pesticide residue. These include apples, green peppers, grapes and those sorts of things,” says Reinagel. “So if you want to get the most benefit out of your organic dollar, those would be the foods to concentrate on.”

Area farmer's say buying local also helps food shoppers with something else: accountability.

“They are always asking us, Îhow do you grow this stuff, what are you putting on it, how does it grow?’ And it is really neat that I can answer those educational questions, because my point of view is if I can educate my customers then they are going to be happier and healthier for it,” says Vicki Race of Race Farm, LLC.

To learn more about "greening" your diet, check out this
NutritionData.com Blog blog or go to NutritionData.com.

To find what’s in season near you, go to www.sustainabletable.org.

— Kafi Drexel
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